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Transfer Printing and how it Works

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Transfer Printing is a method used to transfer an image from one surface to another, permanently. Nowadays the process is mostly used to transfer designs onto t-shirts or other kind of garments. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish Transfer Printing from other printing techniques like screen-printing or cad cut vinyl. What sets it apart is the fact that Transfer Printing is the only printing technique where heat is applied at the end to set the image.

Different stages of transfer printing: 

Image selection

You can choose virtually any image for transfer printing. It’s way of transferring allows for both complex (with many colours) and simple (with a few colours) images to be printed. Thanks to the fact that the design is printed onto paper first instead of the garment, it allows for more intricate details to show when compared to DTG that may have a more “blurry” finish.

transfer-printingHeat transfer

Once the design has been selected, it is printed on a special heat transfer paper which is then positioned on the garment. The paper is later squashed against the fabric using a heat press. It is left this way for however amount of time is necessary for the heat to do its job. After the required amount of time has passed, the press if lifted and the garment is left alone to cool down. If everything went well, then you should have a quality finish t-shirt.

heat-transfer-printingHow does it work?

Most professional t shirt printers now a days use a more sophisticated version of the simple iron-on method, but the basics are still the same. What happens is that the heat transfer machine releases the right amount of pressure, holds the garment in place and has a consistent temperature which allows the colour pigments to be transferred from one surface to the other. Heat transfer literally melts the image onto the fabric.

Heat Transfer Paper

It’s advisable to use commercial heat transfer paper as this will give the image a much better quality finish, lasts longer and won’t fade, bleed or peel. Cheap paper is not suitable for professional looking print since it is likely to show a line around where it’s cut and have that awful shiny finish, making the garment look very ‘homemade’.

distressed logo

Benefits

  • Inexpensive
  • Good for small quantities
  • Can print complex images with many colours and intricate designs
  • Prints on any garment regardless of colour
  • Easy for amateurs
  • Clean (screen printing can be very messy)

Disadvantages

  • Not practical for large quantities
  • Not as flexible when it comes to printing on different kinds of materials
  • Each design must be cut one by one
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Northwest Custom Apparel
Northwest Custom Apparel
163 Google reviews
Steve McMains
Steve McMains
2024-05-31
Great place to do business with.
Hector Aponte
Hector Aponte
2024-05-15
Splendid service by this team. I needed a job done in one day and without hesitation I was helped. Besides the no notice, need now accommodation, the overall quality of the job of superb.
anthony mckenna
anthony mckenna
2024-05-13
Amazing service and quality of work.
katie latimer
katie latimer
2024-04-23
This small business is excellent! Great turnaround times and pricing. We've completely switched over to them for our uniform needs. The embroidery looks amazing and very professional. We have gotten jackets, vests, safety vests, hats and uniform polo shirts with them. The screen prints are very resistant to numerous washes. They have been super flexible and patient with us and going through getting PO set up with our company.
Dave Lambing
Dave Lambing
2024-04-03
I am the Quartermaster for the Tacoma Fire Buff Battalion. We use Northwest Custom Apparel to produce our uniform articles. Their work is always perfect and done is record time. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Kyle Keehnel
Kyle Keehnel
2024-03-27
Our company has been going to NWCA for years and have always encountered friendly service and quality products.
Smokey B3ar21
Smokey B3ar21
2024-03-14
Super friendly staff , wonderful products for our company and couldn’t be happier with them
Chuck Schilling
Chuck Schilling
2024-03-09
Working with NWCA was like hitting the EASY button! Ten days from our initial meeting to completed shirts and we couldn't be more pleased.
Bret Lauritzen
Bret Lauritzen
2024-02-26
Prompt service
Cassandra Johnson
Cassandra Johnson
2024-02-17
Words can't describe how much I appreciate the outstanding customer service I received from Northwest Custom Apparel! I placed an order for two coats that I needed in one week for a Valentines' day gift and Nika made it happen! She was proactive, quickly responsive, and understanding of me needing to see different looks of our company logo. She was incredibly sweet, accommodating, and made every effort to make my order the way I wanted it. A part of me felt bad asking to see the different looks, but she reassured me it was not a problem and was on top of her game! Every staff member I interacted with when I came to their shop was very pleasant, welcoming, and attentive as well. All around great work! Will absolutely use them again and highly recommend!!! Thank you Northwest Custom Apparel!!!